The Centre on Tuesday said mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts will come into force from June 16 in a phased manner and initially will be implemented in 256 districts of the country.
A decision in this regard was taken after a meeting chaired by Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal with industry stakeholders.
In November 2019, the government had announced that hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts would be made mandatory across the country from January 15, 2021.
But the deadline was extended for four months till June 1 and later till June 15 after the jewellers sought more time in view of the pandemic. Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and has been voluntary in nature so far.
"Continuing our government''s endeavour for better protection & satisfaction of customers, mandatory hallmarking in 256 districts will be implemented from June 16, 2021. No penalty will be imposed till August 2021," Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted after the meeting.
Continuing our Govt's endeavour for better protection & satisfaction of customers, mandatory hallmarking in 256 districts will be implemented from 16 June 2021. No penalty will be imposed till August 2021.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) June 15, 2021
This will help develop India as a leading global gold market center. pic.twitter.com/0Pv2UgPdCM
Speaking to PTI, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan said gold hallmarking will be implemented in a phased manner and initially in 256 districts that have Assaying marking centres. The industry concerns were addressed and clarified in great detail in the meeting, she added.
After extensive consultation with stakeholders, the government relaxed mandatory hallmarking of gold for certain players in the jewellery sector.
For instance, the government has exempted jewellers with annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh from mandatory hallmarking, said an official statement issued after the meeting.
It has also been exempted on those who export and re-import jewellery as per the government's trade policy, jewellery meant for international exhibitions as well as for government-approved B2B domestic exhibitions.
From June 16, jewellers in 256 districts will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22 carats of gold jewellery. Gold of additional 20, 23 and 24 carats will also be allowed for hallmarking, it added.
That apart, the government said it has exempted mandatory hallmarking gold on watches, fountain pens and special types of jewellery like Kundan, Polki and Jadau.
"Jewellers can continue to buy back old gold jewellery without a hallmark from consumers," it said, adding that old jewellery can be hallmarked, if feasible by the jeweller after melting and making new jewellery.
The government has decided to set up a committee constituting all stakeholders, revenue officials and legal experts to look into the issue.
The mandatory hallmarking will protect the public against lower caratage and ensure consumers do not get cheated while buying gold ornaments and get the purity as marked on the ornaments.
The government said the hallmarking of jewellery/artefacts is required to enhance the credibility of gold jewellery and customer satisfaction through third party assurance for the marked purity/fineness of gold, and consumer protection.
The BIS has been running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000. Around 40 per cent of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently.
The government said there has been a 25 per cent increase in assaying and hallmarking centres to 945 from 454 in the last five years. Presently, 940 assaying and hallmarking centres are operative.
Out of this 84 centres have been set up under the government subsidy scheme in various districts.
About 14 crore articles can be hallmarked in a year with the existing capacity of these centres, it added.
India has around 4 lakh jewellers, out of this only 35,879 have been BIS certified. According to the World Gold Council, India imports 700-800 tonne of gold annually.